The Washington Post is raging against its own namesake, George Washington, and published an opinion piece to demand change to the name of George Washington University.
In an article published on Wednesday, the Washington Post declared “George Washington University needs a new name,” written by Caleb Francois, a senior at the university.
“Racism has always been a problem at GW. At the university’s founding in 1821, enrollment was restricted to White men. In 1954, then-university president Marvin employed numerous efforts to preserve segregation, arguing for a ‘homogenous’ group of White students,” Francois wrote, noting that “systemic racism and inequality [are] still present on campus.”
“In 1987, Black students organized to demand more visibility in a predominantly Black city where Black students were outnumbered by huge majorities,” the writer continued. “Today, with Black enrollment at about 10 percent, Black students on campus continue to struggle for community. Despite alleged efforts by administration to enhance diversity, the admissions office continues to fail to ensure a student body with adequate minority representation.”
Francois pointed out that the University has never appointed a black president since its founding, and stated that “European studies and White perspectives are favored over Black perspectives.”
“These problems are rooted in systemic racism, institutional inequality and white supremacy. There are at least four ways the university could achieve progress: Decolonized university curriculum, increased Black enrollment, the renaming of the university and the selection of an African American President,” Francois wrote.
On the topic of the university’s namesake, George Washington, who was the first president of the United States, the writer points out that one of the university’s campuses is the Mount Vernon Campus, which is named after the President’s former slave plantation.
“Every day, hundreds of Black students walk on a campus named after an enslaver of men and study at a site named after dark parts of history. Such sites, among other locations and buildings, are touted as glorified mementos here at GW,” he wrote.
George Washington is not the only historical figure that the Post article takes issue with, Francois attacks British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whom the university’s library is named after.
“The controversial Winston Churchill Library must go,” he wrote. “The university’s contentious colonial moniker must go. Even the university’s name, mascot and motto — ‘Hail Thee George Washington’ — must be replaced. The hypocrisy of GW in not addressing these issues is an example of how Black voices and Black grievances go ignored and highlights the importance of strong Black leadership.”
Indeed, Tumblr’s strain of social justice warriorism has fully infected college campuses across the United States and made its way into the once venerated publication. What might have been a Tumblr post, or Reddit rant from 2016, is now a matter of national discourse.
Ironically, Francois does not call out the Washington Post, which is also named after the founding father.